As I post and read more on online forums, I'm re-seeing the same arguments I witnessed when I was younger and on the same forums. It's really interesting seeing my growth over time based on my changing views on all these familiar subjects.
In fact, filling something out today about which Myer-Briggs Type
I am sort of sums it up, even if it over-simplifies (as all personality tests do, but they're still fun!). I used to score as an INTP
, an introverted thinker with bad social skills. I was proud of this, that I used logic above all else. I also remember feeling profoundly unfulfilled, lonely and unable to alter it, and my self-confidence was nonexistant on all matters except my intellect. This was during middle school and the beginning of my high school, when I hid myself in baggy clothes and long hair and got into arguments online about how stupid religious people (by which I meant "Christians") were for deluding themselves about ideas on their Sky Creator.
I remember starting to, as most teenagers do, self-diagnosis my issues and so I turned to databases not of mood disorders, but of personality ones - I took tests for Schizoid
and scored high and was fairly certain I had it, or at least that it functioned as an apt description of me. I've also had genuine issues with something called dissociation
since I was young, which websites tell me is usually due to childhood trauma and bad coping mechanisms and with which I (and my past therapist) agree.
After my first significant other entered my life, however, I felt a bit of a change. It's not as though my ex-boyfriend and I were particularly close (emotionally) - we had few things in common except enjoying each other's physical company and rarely did more than just talk about inane things, watch movies, or make out. I never once considered the idea of being with him long-term, and in fact the entire latter half of our short relationship was rocky and strained due to him dumping me, then us getting back together and clearly not working out but being too nervous to actually do anything about it and leave ourselves alone. But...in there, I think, is where I first started allowing myself to really feel things. It felt like I was "waking up".
I've always worried it sounds incredibly ridiculous and dramatic to talk about this, so I never do, not to anyone except myself. In fact I have pages of journal entries and hoards of unpublished files on my computer about how I felt I was waking up and finally feeling things, how having intimate physical contact and having to be so raw around someone (and deal with the societal/friend issues that come up when you're a teenager in a relationship) seemed to be doing something, for better or for worse. I was miserable but alive, and I recall exercising obsessively in that time period as an outlet.
Somewhere between that (my freshman/sophomore years) and meeting Kat and now, I've finally started learning how to deal with really feeling things. My dissociation/depersonalization is generally something that only happens rarely, at random, instead of being constantly triggered by any negative thought. I haven't self-harmed at all in something like a year, and I haven't consistently
be self-harming in well over two. I stopped taking my anti-depressants about six months after beginning them, in my junior year, because of the side-effects, and I've stopped going to therapy. While the experience of GOING to a therapist was very re-affirming and all, it's just not for me - or at the very least that particular lady was not.
I'm the sort of person that others will blow off as a "hippie" or, god forbid, "hipster" now, because of my huge interest in diet and exercise and its impact on my life. I've found eating better and exercising even moderately more helps both my mood and all the bodily aches I tend to have. And if something works solely on "placebo effect", scientifically speaking, that bothers me not one bit - just because it's a placebo doesn't mean it doesn't work. It means you're controlling your mind by tricking it into doing what you want, and from there it's just semantics as to whether or not that counts as "working".
Back to something vaguely related to my opening paragraph (holy crap I can ramble!), after being raised as an atheist with a disdain for religion - something my father especially impressed upon me - I've gotten over my repulsion of it. I started getting really interested in Paganism, and then Eastern philosophy, some time ago, but I was always afraid to really broadcast it. It seems that in online culture, white people who are interested in other religions/cultures are presumed to only be in it for the exoticism/'hipster'-ness of it, and that's been endlessly frustrating to me. But I seem to have finally found my niche in Hinduism, and I am constantly looking for books on religion. I'm reading one right now that I'm absolutely in love with, and knowing more facts has absolutely transformed my views on the Judeo-Christian-Islamic faiths. I own a (Christian) Bible, the Mahabharata and a seperate, second translation of the Bhagavad Gita, a selection of other Hindu stories, as well as several composite books on religion/philosophy and you know what? It's lost is scariness. I can deal with the occasional religious person online who may turn up their nose at other faiths/atheists/agnostics because I focus on the religions as a whole and they're fascinating
I wouldn't call myself religious, but I'm certainly spiritual and it means quite a lot to me now. Nothing has ever stopped an anxiety attack for me as well as chanting Ganesha mantras and just breathing has. And reading the Bhagavad Gita in full, despite the prejudiced translation and notes by the "author", provided me a lot of time to mull over things and self-reflect.
I used to read quotes online mocking "liberals" and "open-minded" people who judge close-minded people for being that way, and I finally understand that argument. And I feel that I'm finally at the point in my life where, as long as someone isn't trying to infringe on others'
rights because of their beliefs, I am perfectly okay with people having opinions that differ from my own, even radically different or prejudiced or offensive ones. Now of course unfortunately, generally people with extreme views want to push them on others, but that aside, I'm honestly content to live and let live. Why does it matter? Usually it wouldn't, unless you're the sort to flip off or cuss out people you meet in real life that you don't like. No one would ever know your true feelings on them unless you told them, so why bother being open-minded? To me it's about accepting humanity as it is, about allowing everyone else the same respect I was finally able to allow myself
despite having anti-spiritual dogma thrown at me during childhood.
It also helps keep my blood pressure down when reading blogs or reading the news. ;) Oh, and for anyone curious, I now score as an INFP
- the "T for thinking" has changed to an "F for feeling", and it's a grade I'm willing to live with despite the judgments others may have. xD